Take Care of Your Furry Loved Ones – The Benefits of a Pet Trust

Many people who own pets consider them to be a member of the family, much like a child. When planning your estate, you consider your children and make plans to pass on assets and ensure your children are protected. The same logic applies to your pets – you want to make sure there is someone designated to take care of them when you are no longer able to. Many pet owners just assume that their remaining family members will continue to care for their beloved pet. As the years go by, your surviving spouse may not be able to...

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Firearm Owners Should Consider Gun Trusts

The Second Amendment is cherished in our country and millions of Americans are proud gun owners. So what will happen to your firearm when you pass away? The fact that is that a firearm is not your typical asset that can simply be transferred to a loved one. In fact, if you pass away without a will, there are federal transfer requirements that have to be satisfied before a loved one can take ownership of your firearm. For example, to transfer a registered firearm, the owner must get approval from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, along with paying...

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Get the Most Out of Maryland’s MOLST Form

If you live in Maryland and have a life care plan, you may have heard of something known as a “MOLST” form. If you’ve never heard of this form, have no worries. We’re going to explain exactly what this form is and how to utilize it in your estate plan. What is a MOLST Form? MOLST stands for Maryland Order for Life Sustaining Treatment. A MOLST form signifies written medical orders by a physician or nurse practitioner regarding life-sustaining treatments, according to Miemss.org. The objective is for the MOLST form to be a portable and enduring medical order form that...

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Tax Benefits for Husband and Wife Owned Businesses

If you’re looking to diversify your business interests and are married, a good option is to start a business with your spouse. The IRS gives husbands and wives, who file their taxes jointly, the ability to treat a joint business venture as a jointly owned sole proprietorship. It would be categorized as a “qualified joint venture” but that means the owners must exclusively be husband and wife. Also, both spouses have to “materially participate” in the business (so you can’t just list your spouse and hope to get this tax benefit). There are many advantages to having a husband-and-wife-owned business...

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Importance of Disability Planning

You and your loved ones may be relatively healthy today, but can you guarantee you’ll be just as healthy 20 years from now? Of course not. No one can predict when and if they develop a physical disability or disease. No one can be ready for the day they walk into their doctor’s office and are told they’re suffering from Alzheimer’s or cancer. Even if you eat a perfect diet, exercise every day and take supplements, you still can’t avoid the risk of suffering a debilitating physical ailment. For example, one-third of adults over the age of 65 suffer a...

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Benefits of an LLC for Real Estate Investments

Investing in real estate can be a very good strategy for creating a sustainable income stream for your estate plan. Though, real estate investments also creates inherent liabilities. Whether you invest in homes or apartments, areas such as laundry rooms or staircases, they all carry great risk of exposure. Even tenants themselves carry the risk of exposing you, the owner, to liability from potential environmental-contamination claims, fire-related claims, slip-and-fall claims and other injury claims. This is why steps should be taken to protect yourself, such as forming a Limited Liability Company (i.e. LLC). An LLC can be a great form...

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The Importance of a Special Needs Trust and The Difference Between First Party and Third Party Special Needs Trusts

If you have a loved one, usually a child, who requires special needs such as in-home care or a lifetime of medical treatment, you need to consider setting up a special needs trust. Before going into what exactly is a special needs trust is, you may be asking yourself, “Why do I need special needs planning?” Well, because properly organizing and caring for a loved one with needs that may last well beyond your lifetime is absolutely critical. It is heartbreaking to see someone with special needs who had a loved one taking care of them, but then that...

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Famous People and Estate Planning Disasters

If you think all the well-to-do or celebrities have a magnificent estate plan in place, think again. Many wealthy individuals and famous people failed to properly organize and plan their estates. The result? Estate planning nightmares that lead to millions of dollars being gobbled up by Federal estate taxes, unnecessary legal fees, and lengthy court battles between family members. Below are three prime examples of missed opportunities, in terms of proper estate planning: Steve McNair Steve McNair was a successful NFL quarterback who died suddenly and unexpectedly. He did not have a will or any estate planning documents when he passed away....

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Creative Estate Planning for Clients No Longer Subject to the Federal Estate Tax

When Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), roughly 99.8 percent of U.S. taxpayers became shielded from the federal estate tax (aka the "death tax"). So what does this mean for estate planning? Post-ATRA estate planning appears dramatically different than in years past. For the first time in U.S. history there is a “permanent”, inflation-adjusted and portable exemption amount that essentially excludes the extremely wealthy, from gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax. This is extremely important since, for the past decade, there was a great deal of uncertainty in estate planning. Prior to ATRA, there had been a phased-in...

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